Life can be hectic. When you're juggling personal and professional responsibilities, and racing from one appointment or errand to the next, speeding up to get where you're going a little faster may not seem like such a big deal. However, research from some of the nation's top traffic safety groups shows that speeding is anything but harmless.
In fact, speeding is the leading aggressive driving behavior in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Speeding comes at a high price, both in terms of lives lost and actual economic impact. The NHTSA estimates that speeding-related car accidents cost Americans more than $40 billion each year.
If you were injured in a car accident caused by a speeding driver, you may be eligible for compensation. Here's what you need to know before taking legal action.
Common Types of Speeding
It might surprise some people to learn that when it comes to speeding accidents, driving faster than the posted speed limit isn't the only definition that applies. While exceeding posted speed limits is the most common type of speeding, racing other vehicles and driving too fast for the current road or weather conditions are also considered speeding-related offenses.
Anyone who doubts the dangers of speeding need only consult that latest statistics for speeding-related motor vehicle accidents. Consider these startling figures:
- Speeding is the most prevalent factor in fatal motor vehicle accidents
- Since 2005, speeding has been a contributing factors in more than 25 percent of crash deaths
- In 2014, speeding contributed to 28 percent of all traffic fatalities
- In 2015, 9,557 people were killed in speeding-related crashes
- Speeding-related accidents cost Americans an estimated $40.4 billion per year, which breaks down to a staggering $76,865 per minute or $1,281 per second
- Fixed speed cameras reduced injury collisions by up to 25 percent, while mobile speed cameras reduced wrecks and injuries by up to 51 percent, according to the NHTSA
- Speeding isn't limited to certain age groups, or restricted to rural or high-speed roads
Speed Limit Increases
The statistics paint a clear picture: driving at excessive speed results in accidents, injuries, and even deaths. Conversely, efforts to restrict highway speeds have historically led to a decline in lives lost. For example, in 1974, after Congress established a 55 mph nationwide speed limit, traffic fatalities dropped by an impressive 16 percent.
Unfortunately, times have changed and in this regard, not necessarily for the better. As of mid-2017, more than 40 state laws have raised the speed limit on at least some sections of highways to 70 mph or higher, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
The National Safety Council warns that current legislation to raise speed limits threatens to undo progress made by airbags and other automotive safety features.
Speeding and Drunk Driving
Research suggests that dangerous driving behaviors like drinking and driving may make motorists more likely to engage in other unsafe driving behaviors such as speeding. Sadly, speeding and drunk driving make for a particularly deadly combination: a 2014 IIHS study found that more than 40 percent of speeding drivers involved in fatal accidents had blood alcohol levels above the legal limit.
Like drinking and driving, speeding is hazardous because it reduces the driver's reaction time and maneuvering ability, making them more likely to cause or be involved in an accident.
Do You Need a Car Accident Attorney?
If you were seriously injured in a car crash caused by someone who exceeded the posted speed limit, raced another vehicle, or drove too fast for current conditions, you may be eligible for compensation from the speeding motorist. A personal injury civil lawsuit allows accident victims to pursue a monetary award for medical bills and other damages.
Contact McGartland Law today to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation initial review of your case.